OLIVIA RICHMAN — General Assignment Reporter
He stood at the podium and discussed girls he had crushes on, a future wife cheating on him with an Ethiopian tour guide and old coins.
Where else would one go to hear such an electric bunch of poetry but a Folio reading?
Last week’s reading featured poetry written by Michael Bellmore, a poet published in Folio, featured fiction by Jennifer Leno and also featured art by Glenn Paskiewicz.
There was free food and an open mic for any other students who may have liked to read out loud any of their work.
But what exactly is Folio?
“Folio is basically an undergraduate literary arts magazine,” said Jared Coffin, the editor-in-chief of Folio.
“We publish fiction, poetry, one-act plays and creative non-fiction, and art of any medium. Last semester we published two interviews for the first time.”
Last week’s Folio Reading had two cancelled speakers, but Bellmore read seven poems to make up for those that could not make it to read their work.
Students and professors sat on couches in the Fireplace Lounge in SCSU’s Adanti Student Center.
They listened to Bellmore recite his original poetry and laughed at his often twisted, pessimistic, dry-humored remarks.
Bellmore said he began writing poetry at the end of high school in order to impress a girl.
“It didn’t work,” he said. “That’s all I’ll say.”
Recently, Bellmore began writing poetry for more personal reasons.
“Last year I started to get into poetry,” he said. “I took three poetry classes that year and it seemed natural. I use poetry as sort of a way to sort things out; it’s fun—it’s an outlet for my obsessive compulsive tendencies. It’s something to look over and over and to spend my free time on.”
Bellmore submitted some poetry to Folio and had a poem published last semester.
The poem, titled “All Your Dreams Are Dead,” is on the third page of the publication and deals with failing dreams and commercial jingles.
“It’s a fine publication,” said Bellmore. “It’s good for students to have an outlet.”
After being published in Folio, Bellmore was asked by the staff to read a few poems at the gathering last week.
“I get butterflies in my stomach,” he said of public speaking.
“But I just do it. It’s still there, but once it’s done, it’s over. It doesn’t matter if you had butterflies by then.”
Coffin, an English major, said the readings are a way to get more students to know what Folio is about.
“I wish more people knew what Folio was,” said Coffin.
“Not a lot of students know what it is. I wish more people would submit their work. People are afraid of rejection, but they shouldn’t be – a lot of great writers are out there.”
Coffin said that as editor-in-chief, he’s in charge of overseeing the entire operation.
From contracts with publishers to choosing which artists are going to be in the publication, Coffin is in charge of it all.
“We find judges for the magazine; I oversee the staff, together we set up monthly readings. We solicit from English workshop classes. We read everything that’s submitted during the winter break and decide what to accept. In the spring, we basically design the layout.”
Folio usually features around 15 to 20 poems, according to Coffin.
It also features10 stories depending on how long they are.
There are no more than 20 pieces of art.
Coffin said they look for original work, but not for anything in particular. If the work is good, Coffin says there is a good chance of it being published.
“We don’t look for specific things,” he said. “We look for stories and poems and plays that push the limit of writing and does something well.”